Hemorrhoids in pregnancy

hemorrhoids in pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are quite common. Moreover it is estimated that almost half of adults over the age of 50 and about half of all pregnant women will develop a problem with hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids can be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids occur within the lower rectal area and may not develop symptoms while external hemorrhoids occur in the skin surrounding the anus and are responsible for most of the symptoms associated with the condition.


Symptoms vary from person to person as well as the cause but the following are some common symptoms:

  • anal itching
  • anal pain, especially when sitting
  • lumps in the area around the anus
  • rectal bleeding after a bowel movement
  • prolapsed hemorrhoids (a condition when internal hemorrhoids come out of the anus)

Hemorrhoids can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • straining during bowel movements
  • sitting on the toilet for too long
  • excessive use of laxatives
  • even lifting heavy objects

Chronic constipation and chronic diarrhea are also potential causes mainly due to regular straining to have a bowel movement. Also one of the reasons they affect half of people over 50 is that aging weakens the tissues and muscles that surround and support the rectum and anus.


When it comes to pregnant women hemorrhoids usually appear during the third trimester. The fetus is then larger and exerts pressure on the pelvic-floor and many organs of the digestive system. As the fetus grows and there is increased blood flow to the area pressure from the weight of the fetus can cause them to swell and become inflamed.

One of the other main causes of hemorrhoids, both in pregnant women and in all groups, is constipation. Due to improper diet, due to the intake of food with little fiber, it will lead to constipation and hemorrhoids in many people but it is a little more complicated in pregnant women (we recommend to read the text diet for hemorrhoids).

During pregnancy an increase in progesterone – a hormone associated with muscle relaxation, among other things, can cause bowel motility to slow down and lead to less frequent bowel movements. After constipation additional straining during bowel movements and other factors can cause hemorrhoids to become inflamed.


Hemorrhoids that develop during pregnancy usually improve or heal shortly after the birth of the child. In some case they may worsen or originate after childbirth as a result of strong pressure during childbirth, but there are a number of methods and home remedies to avoid or relieve hemorrhoids even while you are still pregnant:

  • Regular bowel movements: Taking steps to prevent constipation is a way to prevent hemorrhoids. Staying hydrated and increasing dietary fiber intake through food choices are two of the easiest ways to avoid constipation.
  • Movement: Prolonged standing or sitting can increase pressure on the perineum which can lead to hemorrhoids. It is important for pregnant women to go for short walks to improve circulation.
  • Kegel exercises: These exercises are primarily designed to prepare the pelvic-floor for the birth process. Strengthening the pelvic-floor is useful for childbirth and avoiding circulation problems with hemorrhoids and swelling.
  • Side sleeping: Pregnant women are already discouraged from sleeping on their back after the first trimester. Lying on the side can also be valuable as a technique used during the day to also reduce pressure.
  • Sitz bath: Taking a sitz bath means sitting in hip-deep water whether it’s just warm water or water mixed with baking soda. A 10-minute sitz bath several times a day can be soothing to the perineal area.
  • Wipe gently: Wiping vigorously to really clean the anus can increase the chance of hemorrhoids breaking out. Instead wipe gently. If regular toilet paper is too rough – use wet wipes.
  • Cold compresses: Gently pressing a simple ice pack to the affected area can reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Medicines: There are over-the-counter medicines designed to quickly relieve pain and discomfort which you can get at any well-stocked pharmacy.

Like many body changes involved in pregnancy hemorrhoids can be related to and affect the reproductive system and the gastrointestinal system. Pregnancy in general often has a major impact on digestive function. In some cases further treatment in the form of hemorrhoid ligation, hemorrhoidectomy or other state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedures may be necessary.

Do not delay seek advice from a doctor as soon as you notice a problem, and do not be afraid, surgery is not the only solution.


In case of anal bleeding it is good to consult a doctor. This does not mean that invasive intervention is always necessary, on the contrary, often minor problems can be solved at home. In fact there are ointments, creams, foams and suppositories that can effectively treat hemorrhoids. If necessary the treatment can be combined with taking a painkiller, for example paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid or ibuprofen. Even warm baths can provide relief: just soak the painful part in water 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes. Cold compresses, on the other hand, can help reduce swelling. There are many products on the market for the treatment of hemorrhoids, and they can often be bought without a prescription, but avoid taking them for more than a week.


In some cases, however, treatment with many products and drugs is not enough. In fact, it is sometimes possible for a blood clot to form in external hemorrhoids which can only be removed by a small incision made by a doctor.

In the case of internal hemorrhoids elastic binding may be indicated which is an outpatient procedure that involves the application of small rubber bands. In this way, the blood can no longer flow inside it and the hemorrhoids dry up and separate themselves.

A less effective alternative is sclerotherapy which involves drying the hemorrhoid by injecting specific substances into it. Finally, internal hemorrhoids can be treated with coagulation techniques based on the use of lasers, infrared rays or heat.


In the case of severe or recurrent hemorrhoids the doctor may recommend a hemorrhoidectomy – an operation to remove the hemorrhoids and the operation may be performed under local, spinal, or general anesthesia.


Whichever treatment is best for you there are a few things you can do to better manage hemorrhoids. For example, it is recommended to use cotton underwear and products specially designed for cleaning in the case of hemorrhoids without alcohol or other potentially irritating substances. However, first aid comes primarily from a diet that should be rich in water and foods rich in fiber that help soften the stool. You need to make room for fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your menu.